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[READ] Lighten Up: Making the STORY Wall with Sachem Arvidson

It’s two days before opening of Creativity and our gallery wall looks like a circuit board. LED artist Sachem Arvidson assures us, it will be done in time for opening and aside from the exposed wires, there’s no reason to doubt him. He knows deadlines. As the artist in residence of psychedelic rock band, the Flaming Lips, Sachem has travelled the world creating over-the-top visuals that connect an audience to the energy of a live performance. For Creativity we collaborated with him to create a custom LED wall that playfully engaged the creative in all of us. Here Sachem shares what creativity means to him and how be brought the STORY to light.

How do you define/approach creativity?
I think my approach to creativity has always had a lot to do with using the materials and situation at hand.  Finding the most creative ways to repurpose things or stretch out something that is in short supply. Using those constraints as a way to push myself to constantly be learning.

What was your vision with the STORY wall?
My vision with the Story wall was just to be able to combine my own aesthetic and concepts with something that would work with the store’s. I honestly didn’t know much of what it would turn into going into it. But luckily everyone involved in Story are amazing creative people so it turned into a great collaboration.

Ok, technical stuff – how many LEDs wires etc. are we talking about?
Hmm. You just made me actually think about that for the first time. That would be.. About 1800 RGB LEDs ( or 5400 individual red, green, and blue colors) connected by about 600 wires that I hand soldered this week! No wonder it almost killed me!


What do you hope people feel when they interact with the wall?
I hope people get to feel playful, creative, and slightly confused!

What do you love about what you do?
I love that there’s always new adventures and always more to learn. The range of things I could be doing in any given week is really just insane. I haven’t felt bored in a really long time.

When you hit a wall creatively the best way to get over it is….
“Hit a wall creatively” I see what you did there. I say when you hit a wall just keep pushing until you break through it! Being creative is also hard work just like anything else. You have to keep putting in the effort. Don’t be afraid of coming up with a slew of epic failures before you stumble onto your next great idea.

Check out Sachem’s display at Creativity STORY through July 26th!